Rachel Held Evans lived biblically for a year in a small town in Tennessee, calling her husband “master,” growing out her hair and holding up a sign touting her spouse as “awesome.”
The Dayton, Tenn., woman has documented her 365 days of living biblically in her book, “A Year of Biblical Womanhood,” a lifestyle change she experimented with due to her relationship with her husband.
Evans, who grew up evangelical, thought her marriage to her husband Dan would be more traditional. But the seven-year union has been more egalitarian than she expected, which gave her the idea to see what her life would be like if she lived according to the Bible.
"That was one of the things that led me to question" traditional roles of womanhood, Evans told the Chattanooga Times Free Press, referring to her relationship with her husband. "I wanted to sort of challenge that the Bible prescribes one right way to be a woman of faith."
“A Year of Biblical Womanhood” is to be released Oct. 30. As part of her year of living biblically, Evans grew out her shoulder-length hair, slept outside her house when she was having her period and referred to her husband as “master.”
Which of those did she detest the most?
"I know it's trite and vain, but it was the hair thing,” she told the Times Free Press. “I know it's supposed to be a woman's glory to have long hair [1 Corinthians 11], but my hair was not made to be long."
Evans said she had awkward moments calling her husband “master” for a week. Holding up a sign that said “Dan Is Awesome” on the side of a public road, to follow the Proverbs saying that a woman’s husband should be “praised at the city gates,” also felt strange to her.
"We were both very weirded out by that one," Evans told the paper. "There was no way I was going to do that for a month, much less a year."
At the end of her experiment, Evans, who is both a devout Christian and a feminist, said there is some biblical maxims she’ll continue to follow but will abandon others.
“Everyone picks and chooses. There are verses that say 'submit to your husband', but also those that say 'submit to one another,’ she told The Guardian. “The more women know about the Bible the more they can respond when people try to silence them."
The small town of Dayton's claim to fame is hosting the infamous Scopes "Monkey" Trial of 1925, when schoolteacher John T. Scopes was convicted of teaching Darwin's theory of evolution. Evans is a graduate of Bryan College, which was founded as a Christian institution in memory of William Jennings Bryan, the three-time presidential candidate who prosecuted Scopes and died in Dayton right after the trial.